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‘Jupiter Ascending': 9 Terrible Reviews That Might Knock the Sci-Fi Movie Out of Audiences Orbit

Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis and Eddie Redmayne lead the cast of the latest adventure from the creators of ”The Matrix“

The Wachowski siblings’ “Jupiter Ascending” is not “The Matrix,” according to the majority of critics panning the science fiction spectacle starring Channing Tatum as an intergalactic bounty hunter and Mila Kunis as the oblivious heir to the universe.

The Warner Bros. release has 31 percent “rotten” approval rating from 49 critics counted, so far, by Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, even the 15 reviews the critic aggregator considers “fresh” aren’t very positive.

TheWrap‘s Alonso Duralde, for example, recommended the “convoluted and silly” space saga for “adrenaline-packed set pieces and intergalactic scenery.”

“Inducing gasps and giggles in equal quantities, it’s a film better enjoyed not as ‘from the makers of ‘The Matrix’ and ‘Cloud Atlas’ but rather as ‘the most expensive movie Roger Corman never made,'” Duralde wrote in his review of the “utterly ridiculous” movie. “Ultimately, this all boils down to two questions: 1) Is ‘Jupiter Ascending’ completely bananas? Absolutely. 2) Will you have fun watching it? As long as you’re OK with the answer to the first question, I don’t see why not.”

Not too many other critics were OK with the answer to the first question, though. Here are nine of them:

San Jose Mercury News critic Tony Hicks:

“There were a couple points in ‘Jupiter Ascending’ that provoked a big burst of laughter from the audience at a recent screening I attended. That is usually great — if the movie is a comedy. Sadly, that’s not the case here. ‘Jupiter Ascending’ is a screaming, speeding train wreck of wild special effects that goes off the rails when the plot develops gaping holes and takes inexplicable turns.”

Seattle Times critic Soren Andersen:

“This movie is worse than bad. Let’s try ‘epically awful’ on for size. ‘Insanely bloated'; that works. Me, I’ll settle for ‘just plain silly.’ Seems like the Wachowski siblings, Andy and Lana, had just one really good movie in them, and that was ‘The Matrix.’ It’s been downhill ever since.”

Las Vegas Weekly critic Josh Bell:

“The plot of ‘Jupiter Ascending’ is ridiculously overstuffed, with huge swaths of exposition that might be better suited to a role-playing-game manual. And the characters thus get pushed to the margins, even Jupiter and Caine, whose star-crossed love story is inert and unconvincing . . .  If ‘Jupiter Ascending’ were just as accomplished in its plotting and character development, it would be brilliant, but instead it’s a stunning, wildly creative book cover with a mediocre story inside.”

Redeye Chicago critic Matt Pais:

“Aside from a bloodless downtown action sequence and scenes with Jupiter’s family that do nothing to establish a sense of place, most of ‘Jupiter Ascending’ (pushed from its scheduled release last summer) is set in a shiny orange world where the explosions are just as dull as they are on Earth. Maybe the Wachowskis think they’re making ‘Star Wars,’ but it’s closer to ‘Dune’ — horribly plotted and embarrassingly acted. Kunis may as well have ‘I find this ridiculous’ tattooed on her forehead.”

Arizona Republic critic Bill Goodykoontz:

“You won’t find spoilers here; the story, which the Wachowskis co-wrote, is so convoluted it’s incredibly difficult to understand and impossible to explain. If you figure it out, let me know … The acting doesn’t help. When the range extends from confused to bored, it’s not a good sign. And these are good actors. They’re just given silly things to do.”

Newsday critic Rafer Guzman

“Detached from all logic, blind to 50 years of science-fiction cliches and brimming with only bad ideas, ‘Jupiter Ascending’ is what happens when creative freedom slides into lunacy . . . The film reaches a feverish peak thanks to Eddie Redmayne, who plays the villain Balem with a hoarse whisper, sensuous eye-rolls and the camp hauteur of Bette Davis (he even waves around a nonexistent cigarette). Eventually, it doesn’t seem quite right to call ‘Jupiter Ascending’ a bad movie. It’s more like not guilty by reason of insanity.”

Playlist critic Kevin Jagernouth:

“The mess the Wachowskis have stamped their brand on is unfortunately a reminder of their worst weaknesses as filmmakers. With the exception of ‘Bound,’ the duo have consistently asked for only minimal acting from their casts, with the spectacle usually doing the heavy lifting. But since the visual effects are so incoherent in ‘Jupiter Ascending,’ it makes the wooden performances by everyone involved look especially bad. Kunis easily fares the worst, with the actress clearly lacking the presence required to lead a blockbuster film.”

BBC critic Owen Gleiberman:

“The reason that ‘Jupiter Ascending’ feels watchable but second-hand, with a certain giggle-worthy flamboyance, is that Andy and Lana Wachowski are far better directors than screenwriters. They came up with a great concept for The Matrix, but even there they fulfilled it with balletic visuals rather than an organic resolution of ideas. Next time they should stop pretending to be sci-fi visionaries. Because it’s become clear their vision is poppycock.”

RogerEbert.com critic Matt Zoller Seitz:

“‘Jupiter Ascending’ is an example if a particularly depressing sort of bad blockbuster: one made by artists that you might not know were artists unless you’d seen their other films. It’s not “so bad it’s good,” which would at least promise a certain lunkheaded obsessiveness. Nor is it aim-for-the-moon-and-land-among-the-stars bad, or any other sub-category of bad that one could make a critical case for. It’s blandly, often listlessly bad, check-the-blockbuster-boxes bad, just-out-of-film-school-and-shopping-a-tentpole-screenplay bad.”

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